Why is iron deficiency anemia more common in women than in men?

Updated: Sep 07, 2019
  • Author: James L Harper, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

A woman loses about 500 mg of iron with each pregnancy. Menstrual losses are highly variable, ranging from 10 to 250 mL (4-100 mg of iron) per period. These iron losses in women double their need to absorb iron in comparison to males. A special effort should be made to identify and treat iron deficiency during pregnancy and early childhood because of the effects of severe iron deficiency upon learning capability, growth, and development.


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